COUNTDOWN: 9 days to Wrongful Conviction Day: (Thursday October 6, 2016);
STORY: "Answers to your lingering questions in the Nick Hilary murder trial," by David Sommerstein, Lauren Rosenthal and Brit Hanson, published by NCPR on September 27, 2016.
GIST: "Last week, lawyers made their final arguments in the murder trial of Nick Hillary. Hillary is the former soccer coach accused of strangling 12-year-old Garrett Phillips in Potsdam nearly five years ago. This Wednesday morning, at 10 am, Judge Felix Catena will hand down a verdict. However, there are still lots of loose ends. Last week, we put out a call on our daily podcast about the trial, Day by Day, to find out what questions you, our listeners, have. It turns out, you had plenty. In fact, more than 40. It’s clear the public’s been following closely. Here are a few of the most asked questions: Physical evidence: Were fingerprints found at the crime scene? Yes. There were four latent fingerprints discovered at the crime scene on and around the second story window where the assailant was believed to have exited. In this case, the four latent fingerprints were lifted for evidence using tape. Whose fingerprints were tested for a match? The police said they tested 40 people’s fingerprints. Those 40 people included anyone with regular access to the Phillips family apartment. Family and friends were tested, as well as Nick Hillary and former suspect John Jones. Unidentified latent prints also get entered into a New York State database where they are automatically check against 8.4 millions fingerprints found in arrest and civil employee records. No matches have been made. Was there any DNA evidence found at the crime scene? A tiny DNA scraping was taken from underneath Garrett Phillips’ fingernail. That DNA sample was analyzed using three different kinds of testing. The first test from the New York State crime lab came back inconclusive, so the prosecution didn’t want to use it. Then, a statistical test was done using computer software call TrueAllele. That test didn’t support Hillary being at the crime scene either. One final test was run using a technology new to the United States call STRmix. The STRmix test showed about a dozen DNA markers in the sample matched Nick Hillary’s DNA. The problem is, we don’t have a sense of what that really means. Other scientists said the DNA sample was too small to be reliable in the first place. Why wasn’t the DNA used in court? In the end, Judge Felix Catena said the state crime lab wasn’t ready to be using STRmix just yet and ruled that DNA would not be allowed in this case. Read Catena’s ruling on the inadmissibility of the DNA here. Please connect with the link below for responses to the remaining 'lingering questions."
PUBLISHER'S NOTE: I am monitoring this case/issue. Keep your eye on the Charles Smith Blog for reports on developments. The Toronto Star, my previous employer for more than twenty incredible years, has put considerable effort into exposing the harm caused by Dr. Charles Smith and his protectors - and into pushing for reform of Ontario's forensic pediatric pathology system. The Star has a "topic" section which focuses on recent stories related to Dr. Charles Smith. It can be found at: http://www.thestar.com/topic/
Harold Levy. Publisher; The Charles Smith Blog.